Merkley Statement on Jobless Numbers

Washington, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released a statement today following the announcement by the Department of Labor that job losses were lower than expected even though the national unemployment rate climbed to 8.9%.

“While it is clear that we have a long way to go before the recession is over, it is promising that today’s jobless numbers were less dire than many had feared.  However, we still have a lot of work to do to turn this country around,” said Merkley.  “Oregon’s unemployment rate is sky-high in counties across the state, working families are struggling and small businesses are strained.

“We have to address the jobs crisis head on and also pursue a long term strategy to sustain economic growth.  We must continue to modernize our transportation infrastructure and fund projects across rural Oregon.  We have to reform our health care system so that every American has access to affordable care.  We have to invest in education.  And we need to create the innovative clean energy technologies of the future to spur job growth.  By taking these steps, we’re laying the groundwork for a stable economy for generations to come.”

The Department of Labor reported today that the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 8.9%, the highest since 1983. However, the pace of job losses slowed to 539,000, less than analysts expected.  The number of Americans unemployed stands at 13.7 million, including more than 250,000 Oregonians.

“We certainly seem to be seeing the early effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with construction spending on the rise.  However, there is no doubt in my mind that we need to do much, much more.  We must continue to fund shovel-ready and shovel-worthy projects across the state to bring financial stability to Oregon families and businesses,” said Merkley.